Several people were arrested as protesters rocked Minneapolis for the second night in a row, blocking traffic and setting fires in the wake of a fatal police shooting earlier in the week.
Demonstrations Friday evening were initially peaceful, according to reports, but devolved as protesters blocked rush-hour traffic at the busy intersection of Lake Street and Hennepin Avenue, according to local reports, using a makeshift barricade of bike racks, motorcycles and dumpsters.
The unrest began Thursday after U.S. Marshals shot and killed Winston Boogie Smith Jr., 32, in a parking garage as they tried to arrest Smith on a felony-arms rap.
Smith exchanged gunfire with cops, authorities said, according to court records. Smith died of multiple gunshot wounds, the Hennepin County medical examiner’s office reported Saturday morning.
Smith’s family demanded answers from authorities.
“I want body camera footage … we want to see that footage of what actually happened,” Smith’s brother, Kidale Smith, told reporters Friday.
“And all other security surveillance as well,” chimed in Waylon Hughes, identified as a friend of the victim.
Smith’s death comes little over a year after George Floyd’s May 2020 death at the hands of a Minnesota officer, which turned Minneapolis into a powder keg of protests and violence, and helping inspire demonstrations worldwide.
Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old black man, was shot and killed by a police officer in Brooklyn Center, Minn., just outside Minneapolis, in April.
Smith had appeared to be angered deeply by the Floyd murder.
“We got guns and bullet proof vest too or should be able to get em … why not just rush these f–ks and start this war they keep asking for!” he raged on Facebook.
“F–k justice anyway b—h justice is an eye for eye u kill one of mine we need one of yours that’s justice! Right or wrong f–k being right cuz they keep doing us wrong.
“I’m down with the burn everything government not touch sh-t else I don’t even need to loot I’ll buy my sh-t just kill them dirty ass cops off we tired of being scared at the red light!” he wrote.
His family claims the angry social media posts don’t reflect the man they knew.
Smith “was a comedian,” his sister Tiesnia Floyd told reporters Friday, adding, “So this doesn’t sound like him.”
She admitted he had a criminal record, but said her brother was trying to improve his circumstances.
Crime has soared in Minneapolis since Floyd’s death, which sparked a shift toward reallocating funds away from police in the city.
There have been 36 murders so far this year, double the number for the same period in 2020, police in the city report. Shootings have skyrocketed by 153 percent, with 80 percent of the victims black. There is an average of 1.3 carjackings per day, a 222 percent increase over 2020.
The rising crime comes as the Minneapolis Police Department is being racked by attrition over the past year, losing more than 200 police officers due to retirement or disability.